Monday, 31 October 2016
31.10.2016 - 31.10.2016
Our ship backed slowly into her berth amongst the massive dock cranes and large cargo ships. Normally she's an imposing feature in the port but here she's just another big structure. The very large terminal building also stands up well by comparison. We have nothing booked here, the two and a half hour drive each way to Bangkok for most of the tours was too much. Add to that the fact that a number of the significant attractions were closed decided us against any of the tours on offer.
The ship did arrange for a shuttle to the nearby city of Pattaya. Fares were US$8 each, each way so US$32 all up. The weather looked to be far better than expected so we signed up for this shuttle. The first shuttle was due to leave at 08:30, we were there at 08:00 and were directed to the bus, as soon as it was filled we were off. By 08:15 we were on the road and had an easy 50 minute drive to the Bay View Hotel where they provided a meeting place and welcome Rest Rooms.
There is nothing much open in Thailand before about 10:00 to 10:30, we were invited to fill in time at the World Gems Collection Co. Free shuttle from the hotel, no obligation to buy. We figured we had nothing better to do. Quite quickly we were deposited into the care of a guide who took us past some amazing statues encrusted with precious and semiprecious stones and copious amounts of gold. The price tag on a magnificent golden dragon was over a million US Dollars.
We viewed their 'factory' where a team of about 30 were working on pieces of jewelry with the precision of micro surgeons. Watching these craftsmen and women working with tiny tools under a microscope gave you an appreciation for the effort involved in creating the jewelry. Then into the display and sales area. Any couple that spent more than a minute examining a particular counter attracted an 'assistant' who shadowed them around the floor.
Jenny was attracted to a number of items but invariable she was put off by the price tag. The Thai price needed to be divided by about 33 to bring it to US Dollars this then has to be multiplied by 1.33 to bring it to AU Dollars. She was pretty good and resisted many of the 30 to 40 thousand Thai Baht items. After some considerable time she selected a pendant and chain that made only a slight dent in the credit card.
Shuttle back to the hotel where we gathered our directions and headed down to the beach. There had been a massive increase in activity and traffic. The beach is free but it costs AU$ 4 to hire a sun lounge. There were all manner of vendors and roadside stalls. Prices are fixed in most shops where individual items have a sticker price. The market style stalls are prepared and fully expect to have their asking price reduced. In one shop I picked up four jars of Thai Herbal Balm for the princely sum of 220 Baht. The bargain of the day however was in a 'Family Mart' where we bought two small bottles of Pepsi for just 36 Baht.
Back to the hotel where a shuttle bus provided a welcome air-conditioned sanctuary. The expectation was that we'd be there until the bus filled up. To our surprise it left with at least 20 empty seats. We were back at the terminal by about 12:30 and breezed through the screening and back on the ship without delay.
After lunch Jenny gathered her craft bag and went to the nightclub for her regular session with fellow craft enthusiasts. My task was to record the events of the day and account for the money spent. I was viewing my images and noticed the lineup of coaches awaiting our arrival. There were 50+ coaches, guides and drivers - where do you find them and where do they go when the ship leaves??
For dinner I had the roast pork belly again, I was not disappointed. Tonight's attraction in the Theatre was Canadian Comedian Scott Harris. He gave us a preview of his act last Friday, we were a bit uncertain about how he would go for a full 45 minutes. As it turned out, he may have lasted the 45 minutes but we didn't. I didn't think he was all that good a few nights ago, my opinion wasn't changed tonight.
Tonight we start three sea days on our Southward leg to Bali in Indonesia.
One of the beautiful shrines at the hotel in Pattaya is the feature image for today you can view my photo by following this link to the image.
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony.